“Travelearning” with your children

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Traveling with a kid might look scary at first. It definitely looks exhausting (and it is). But once you do it, there is little room for regret. It´s much more than having fun with your kid away from home. It´s about being absolutely thrilled with watching your kid learn things he would never learn at home. It´s about giving him the opportunity to see so much from a young age.

The potential in learning during a trip is huge, you can even use it to teach specific things (like I did teaching Luísa to get off of her butt – or my arms – and walk more like normal people do). And you will teach and learn things you were not planning. Trips give a great push into mind development, for you get in touch with novelty all the time, and that´s the best food you can give to yours and your kid´s minds.

Recently, I had the opportunity to go visit some friends in another state. The long trip to get there of 12+ hours was pure games and fun. Once we were there, it was lovely to share time at another family´s home and change our routine of mother and daughter always on our own.

This meant that for 10 days Luísa had an older sister, a beautiful 6 year old that owned the house and all the toys. What a pleasure to see Luísa sharing from morning till bedtime. Never owning anything, never reclaiming “it´s mine”, never having all the attention just for her.

The new learning experiences keep going on

There was her going to a different beach where she couldn´t get in the water for the waves were too powerful on the sand (not like back home where she owns the sea), making instant friends everywhere we went (a very common behavior in children, but since we tend to be among the same people all the time, it´s not that frequent to see it happening), having to walk more instead of just sit in the bike seat to all destinations, like home and sleeping outside her bedtime routine (this was amazing, I was scared  that she would create trouble to sleep away from home, but it wasn´t the case at all).

I did have to listen to her whine sometimes: “Mom, let´s go home, I want my house”. This made me nervous, but not attending her every wish was a good lesson for myself. A lesson that taught me to be more creative with what I give to her and talk about with her. And it also was a boost in my self esteem as a mother, for it reassured that I am giving her the best I can give wherever we are.

Luísa had to settle down and go along with the rules of another house. It helped her wait for her plait when there was more people waiting at the table, it made her realize there were more people to watch the TV (we don´t have a TV at home, but she saw that she can´t watch it anytime she wants anyway) and there were toys that she couldn´t use (her friend was great at sharing, but any kid is jealous of some of their toys, actually adults are too).  Mostly it taught her to have respect toward other people´s routine, other people´s possessions and a big chunk of patience.

She came back home way nicer.

Besides sharing with the family friend, it was obvious to see the difference in relating to possessions. Being the owner of the stuff is a source of a lot of hard-do-deal-with feelings, selfishness among them. Being the tourist, on the other hand is a source of pure novelty-freedom like feelings, some not very positive, like jealousy, but all necessary to help interactions and understanding of oneself.

Short trips can make us learn so much about us and our children. They can be the beginning of a wider understanding of what we are to do together with our time and the best ways to be productive in our relationship.

Last week I went on a mini trip (just one night away) with a couple of friends and their little boy. Once again it was good to see Luísa handling well a different sequence of events in a day. Falling asleep fast after a day full of novelty and different stimulation.

It was a good test to see how we handle some situations away from home. And nce again it served as a rehearsal for a longer traveling to take place. But I´ll talk about our extended traveling with time.

This article was originally posted on Tripping Mom by Marilia Di Cesare on October 11, 2010. Republished with authorization. Click here for all other posts.


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